6. Use of Modern Technologies to Teach Communication Skills

posted 3 Apr 2011, 19:37 by Xavier Pradheep Singh   [ updated 4 Apr 2011, 19:54 by ELTAI Computer Technology SIG ]

Dr. S. Ganesan M.A.,M.Phil.,Ph.D
Professor & Head of the Department of English    
Vel Tech Dr.RR & Dr.SR Technical University
Avadi, Chennai-62

R. Shalini,
Assistant Professor in English
Vel Tech Dr.RR & Dr.SR Technical University
Avadi, Chennai-62

How to cite this article:
MLA (7th Edition)
Ganesan, S., and Shalini, R. "Use of Modern Technologies to Teach Communication Skills." 
Journal of Technology for ELT. 1.1 (January 2011): n. pag. Web. (Date of Access).
MLA (6th Edition)
Ganesan, S., and Shalini, R. "Use of Modern Technologies to Teach Communication Skills." Journal of Technology for ELT 1.1 (January 2011): (Date of Access) <https://sites.google.com/site/journaloftechnologyforelt/archive/ january2011/useofmoderntechnologiestoteachcommunicationskills>

                    From dawn to dusk, man is using technology in various aspects for all his works. It is technology that is evolving everyday. People have to update themselves for surviving in this hi-tech world. In short this world is driven by technology, which cannot be denied. It is the vehicle to get access with this modernized world. More than the process of communication, trade and transactions, today technology is widely used in educational sectors. Though technology cannot play the vital role of a teacher, it can be used as a supplementary tool for enhancing teaching methods in classroom. As the conventional chalk and talk method seems to be monotonous and boring to the students ,teachers emphasize on latest technologies for teaching the subjects. Various software and modern technologies are being introduced to make students to get access with their subjects easily. This study aims to discuss the availability of various technologies, their impact, their practical uses and the problems associated with the application of modern technological tools.

                In the fast developing 21st century various innovative technologies are being introduced to teach English in the classrooms. Knowledge base is fast doubling and tripling in so short a time. To cope up with this trend, we have to use modern technologies to teach English to the technical students. Students have to update their knowledge by using modern technologies. Otherwise they will be relegated in the job market. Maggie Sokolik observes:
 Machines are now used as tools for communication rather than simply as ways of delivering automated drills or exercises. Vast amount of reading on any topic and in many languages are now available on the web, and the chance to participate in discussions with people from all walks of life is motivating for many learners.

            Modern technologies available for teachers of English today are:
  • Communication lab
  • Video conferencing
  • Video Library
  • CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning)
  • TELL (Technology Enhanced Language Learning)
  • Pod casting
  • Quick Link Pen
  • Quicktionary
  • Programmes through educational satellites
  • Blogging

            The integration of technology was started in the early 1960s and 1970s. In the preliminary stage, people used tape recorders as a technological device to instruct the students, which later evolved as communication laboratory. Every day people are getting access to some new technologies, which join hand with English teaching. As the conventional teaching method such as the chalk and talk method seems to be outdated, these technologies can be used as a supplement to the classroom teaching method to have a lively atmosphere in the classroom. It is the need of the hour to integrate modern technologies to upgrade the level of English teaching. The modern technologies relax the mind of the students to get into the subject with full involvement rather than a difficult task to do. Indumathi observes:

            New technologies in language learning by multiple intelligence and mixed abilities replace with old methods of teaching. In the multi-cultured community, the four basic skills are imparted in the teaching with a variety and novelty. Hence they are enthusiastic in learning the language. Language can be learnt by imitation. So one should hear more to develop his/her listening skills. Naturally they try to speak in the same styles as we learnt our mother tongue. The usage of Internet has brought tremendous change in the field of teaching and enhancing English learning. It is believed that people tend to forget everything within three days after they hear.

How to Use these Technologies
1. Video Tapes
            Scenes from popular English films can be screened first without any running script on the scene. Then the students are asked to identify the words, script etc., Again the scene will be repeated with the scripts on the scene. This kind of telecasting videotape with and without script makes the students to get access with the pronunciation, accent and word usage of English with interest. This method will make the students to repeat it again in their homes voluntarily.

2. Communication Labs
            Software’s are available to develop LSRW skills. By incorporating suitable software through computers the students will play it again and again with their own interest and try to improve their LSRW skills, which are most essential in this modernized IT world.

            Listening skills make one to understand what another person speaks. Speaking skills is essential to convey the desire and idea of a person in the right way to the other. Reading skills is important to interpret what is given in the text. Writing is used to express our thoughts. The usage of headphones in the lab makes the students to have interest over the subject and induces them to repeat again and again instead of feeling boredom.

3. Video Conferencing
            Videoconferencing is the method in which one person can access to the speeches of other persons in some other parts of the world. It is the live relay of a programme, which is mostly used to view the lecture of a professor who resides in foreign country. In short it is very helpful for the students to understand what is going in this world and to hear the speech of the top most personalities in a lively manner. The most notable point in video conferencing is that the students can post questions immediately and get their answers at once.

4. Video Library
            Video Libraries are most essential in our fast and modernized world. This is helpful for the students to those who miss some interesting session. In this process the teaching of the faculty will be recorded and made available to the students. The students can view the tapes in their leisure hours. The advantage in this method is that students can replay it when there is a necessity.
5. Blogging
            Blogging can be used for instructing the candidates when the teacher is off campus. The teacher can post his article or the instruction to the students, where the students are allowed to post their comments and queries. The teacher can answer the question through his blog. Blogging seems to be widely in use.

6. Messages through Mobile Phones
            Mobile phones can also be utilized to enrich vocabulary skills by receiving new words daily. There are certain websites and services to provide new words everyday. The only thing we have to do is that we should register our mobile number in the particular websites. This makes the students to get access with certain new words daily.

            The educational role of Computers in learning a second language and the role of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) is significant. The teacher can use the latest technologies, which have the potential to transform the students from passive recipients of information into active participants. CALL is defined as the search for and study of applications of the Computer in language teaching and learning.

            TELL is the use of computer technology including hardware, software and the Internet to enhance teaching and learning of languages. It allows the students to get access with all the technologies available for the enhancement of English learning. Students are allowed to use online dictionaries, chat, and to view the various happenings around the world.

9. Educational Satellites
            In the college we can create Educational Satellite lab, whereby satellite programs of educational value like UGC’s country wide classrooms, Anna University programmes and other world wide programmes are recorded and students are given access to the recording either through big screen or small monitor.

10. Internet
            Internet is a commonly acknowledged term and widely used by people throughout the world. Students now use Internet in the class to learn English. Online teaching inside the classroom seems to be interesting and makes the students to find out the suitable materials for them. Students are instructed to do the grammar exercises which are available online. Through Internet we can collect data from various sources for any instruction.

11. The Web
            There are many ‘self exercises’ in the Internet. English Exercises Online at www.smic.be has over 100 free exercises covering grammar and vocabulary. Another interactive site is www.eslgo.com. In this site a student can learn English language with an ESL teacher. There are two examples out of thousands of websites, which combine ICT and English teaching. Discussion forums, course management systems are also available in the Internet as advanced tools.

12. Pod casting
            Pod casting is the integration of audio files where we can feed our own materials and ply it inside and outside of the classroom. Students use i-pods to hear their favorite music files. In the same way they have their education in the form of entertainment. Vijayalakshmi observes:
Podcasting allows students to use their tech-based entertainment systems for educational purposes. With it we are able to move away from the traditional face-to-face training without losing the student-to-trainer relationship that is so effective in any learning process. Podcasts enables students and teachers to share information with anyone at anytime. An absent student can download the podcast of recorded lesson and is able to access the missed lectures. They could also access lectures of experts which may not otherwise be available because of geographical distance and other reasons.

13. Quick Link Pen
            Quick Link Pen allows learners to copy and store printed text, Internet links. It helps to transfer the data to computers and enables the reader to get the meaning of the word from a built in dictionary. Accessing this type of machine seems to be a more convenient method. Recent developments in machine translations presents translation engines like GO Translator and Bablefish.

14. Quicktionary
            It is a pen-like device. It allows the reader to easily scan the word and get its definition and translation on its own LCD screen. Technology such as Enounce and Sound-Editor enable learners to adjust the speech rate of listening materials to assist their comprehension, and present spectrum of speech waves and visual depictions of mouth and tongue movement to ease the learning and refine pronunciation.

            The modern tools are in addition to the inputs given by the teachers in the classrooms. The magic is real in that it helps the students to enhance their language learning in a fruitful way.

ELTAI Computer Technology SIG,
4 Apr 2011, 20:13